The Young Priest Initiative
The Young Priest Initiative (YPI) is a vehicle for finding, forming and supporting the young leaders of the Diocese of Virginia. It allows young adults to discern a call to leadership outside of the typical parish setting, a setting not always available to college-aged Episcopalians. Despite the name, you don’t have to feel called to the priesthood to apply. Those who feel a call to any type of leadership in the Church are encouraged to apply.
The program allows participants to reflect upon their call to ministry as part of an intentional process. Bible study and discussion about the theology of ordained ministry is coupled with an internship in a parish and/or through the Episcopal Service Corps, a residential, community-based internship program for young adults offered across the Episcopal Church and right here in the Diocese of Virginia. YPI participants study and learn with one another and with mentors, both lay and ordained, who offer their own experience and wisdom.
The YPI program incorporates hands-on training during an internship with an experienced priest or intentional Episcopal community. YPI internships allow participants to take part in many aspects of church life: pastoral care, vestry and committee meetings, sermons and worship, and Christian formation. This allows the interns to explore call to ministry in the most hands-on way possible.
Good Candidates for YPI
- Bright, energetic Episcopalians with a passion for ministry and a desire to be leaders in the Church.
- Juniors and seniors in college and those a few years out of college.
- Self-starting, healthy and emotionally mature.
- Community oriented, connected to mission work and willing to seek out and engage with those who don’t come to church.
- Skilled in teaching, writing and communicating.
First year: Quarterly, day-long meetings on Saturdays, assigned reading and writing on discernment, call and the theology of the ministry of the baptized.
Second year: Summer- or year-long internship and continue quarterly daylong meetings. If a call to the priesthood or diaconate is discerned and affirmed by the Young Priest Initiative committee, seekers begin applying for postulancy. If a call to lay leadership is discerned, work with the YPI committee to discuss what this will look like and next steps.
YPI in Action
Since 1999, YPI has worked with over 100 young adults, many of whom continue their ministry as ordained priests or lay leaders. YPI alumni includes:
- The Rev. Justin McIntosh, Rector of Leeds Church, Markham
- The Rev. Susan Daughtry (pictured above), missioner for formation, Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
- Ms. Paris Ball, director of christian formation for the Diocese of Virginia
How to Apply
Before applying, we encourage you to have a conversation (or series of conversations) with the priest or campus minister most active in your life, whether that be the rector of the parish where you grew up, the priest at your adopted church while at school, or your college chaplain. This person will write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. A detailed description of what to write is included in the application as well as a separate document, below.
- Click to download the application
- Click to download the recommendation letter instructions for the presenting priest.
Please submit the completed application and recommendation letter via email to the Revs. Chris Miller & Robin Razzino, YPI co-directors; and Ed Keithly, deputy director of transition ministry (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Meet the Directors
Chris Miller is the rector of Immanuel Old Church, Mechanicsville. He was ordained in 2015 and sponsored by YPI, so he brings with him recent, relevant experience of the discernment and formation process. He is passionate about the ministry, an able small-group facilitator, and has years of experience coaching and working with young people. Chris graduated from Harvard University in 2010 and served as Bp. Gulick’s assistant for a year before attending VTS, where he received his M.Div. in 2015. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Razzino is the Priest-in-Charge of St. Clement’s, Alexandria. Before that, Robin served for eight years at Redeemer, Bethesda, Maryland. In her previous career, she worked in international human rights, development and peacebuilding. She spent one year living in South Africa, and her work took her to 20+ countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. She graduated from James Madison with a degree in Journalism, and George Mason with a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She received her M.Div. from VTS in 2008. Email: email@example.com
YPI meets quarterly, typically on Saturdays from 10a-3p. The 2017-2018 dates are:
- Saturday, October 7, 2017
- Saturday, January 13, 2018*
- Saturday, April 14, 2018*
- Saturday, July 14, 2018
*Potential 24-Hour Retreat: We are looking in to finding retreat space for January 12-13 or April 13-14, and plan to do a 24-hour opening retreat each year going forward. The retreat would likely begin with dinner on Friday and end around 4 p.m. on Saturday.